or at least that’s what it felt like! Ha!
I went to class with Alyssa today. Well, to be honest I put her on the bus and then hauled it to get gas in the car and print some pictures at Walgreens… and then still managed to beat her to class! It’s so funny to me that she gets upset when I’m in class. I keep trying to do things a little differently. Today I tried going to meet the buses hoping that coming in at the same time as her she’d relax. Nope! She still got upset. Ah well, I’d so so much rather that than having her upset on the days I don’t go! At least the guilt I have is making her an interruption to class rather than feeling guilty about her fussing when I’m not around.
Today was picture day 🙂 Alyssa’s very first picture day! I was so excited when I found out the day I was going to class wound up being the same day she’d need to cheese for the camera. Then, I started to think of the “reality” of what class pictures would be. I prayed pretty hard last night for a gentle heart. There are certain things that I never thought would be a challenge that wind up being a larger challenge than I could have ever anticipated. Today’s was the thought of Alyssa’s “difference” shining through in a class photo. I envisioned a class picture with her wheelchair pushed up to the side of the class. At any rate, I figured I needed to be ready, to accept it, and to rejoice in the fact that she was kickin tush just by coming this far. As we went into the auditorium I handed her chair off to the aide and hung back. The photographer gave Mrs. L the option of standing or sitting on the steps and she elected to have all the kids sit. Then, she did something that … well it just demonstrated so much of her character in ten seconds of her life. She unbuckled Alyssa from her chair, walked to the steps, sat Alyssa beside her, and gave Alyssa the physical and emotional support she needed to be a part of her class. She wasn’t the kid in the wheelchair on the fringe of the class… she was a part of the class. It was something so small and yet so huge. Mrs. L has done things over the weeks that have amazed me, but this was just one of those moments that I will remember forever. I stood on the sidelines slyly wiping away tears of sheer and complete joy for my daughter. Every mother wants things to be easy for their child and people like Mrs. L make that as possible as it can be. Further proving the fact that she doesn’t realize just how amazing she is… she felt badly about it for a moment! LOL! She felt badly that she hadn’t asked me if I wanted her to stay in her chair… um no 😉 I’m just fine with my child being shown acceptance and equality in it’s most raw form! What a blessing that start to the day was 🙂
Mrs. L let her speech and occupational therapists know I was coming in. I’ll forever be amazed at the level of communication at her school. The speech therapist (Mrs. CS) set aside time for me to show her Alyssa’s Tap to Talk program on her Nintendo Dsi (www.taptotalk.com) and she seems to think it is something that can definitely help. I had uploaded a bunch of pics from home and brought her paper copies that she can use during their visits. Here’s hoping it helps! Next up on the show and tell list was to show Alyssa’s honey bear cup to her OT (Mrs. H). It works the same way as a juice box (you know when you squeeze and the liquid comes out 😉 ) to allow us to push a bit of water into her mouth when she has the tubing in her mouth. The hope is that she will learn that the water comes through the tube and eventually get better at lip closure. Since Mrs. H came while Alyssa was still away at speech we got a chance to chat some about her goals for the remainder of the year. We are going to start Alyssa on some more savory foods hoping we can get her more excited. So, off to buy slim jims and other such foods that are exciting and still safe for Alyssa.
At the end of the day we walked up with everyone to the buses and then came back to class to take pictures of her favorite toys in class. Then, each of her teachers/specialists even posed for a picture 🙂 I can’t wait to get them on her Tap to Talk! It’s a totally awesome program and it kind of makes the sky the limit! I just need to figure out how to arrange the albums so that only two choices appear on the screen. Right now a few have four and it’s just too small for her to pinpoint. We’ll get it dialed in though! It was such a great day… one that I may forever think about fondly. I am so so grateful for each of the women that her school has brought into our lives. Each of them will forever hold a special place in my heart 🙂 I’m excited Neil finally gets to meet them on Friday! Yay for trips to the museum!